Brains of Crypto: AtomicHub's Vision for the Future of NFTs
Exclusive interview with John Nichols, Head of Content at AtomicHub, as we discuss the future of NFTs, gaming, and how their marketplace is shaping the digital landscape.
Welcome to our exclusive interview with John Nichols, Head of Content at AtomicHub, a leading NFT marketplace on the WAX and EOS blockchains, with IMX coming soon. John joined AtomicHub in September 2021 - as part of the acquisition of his Web3 media site, NFT Insider - to help guide their community interactions, engagement and promotion of the games, art and collectibles on their marketplace.
With a focus on simplicity and accessibility, AtomicHub revolutionizes the NFT space by offering seamless creation, trading, and management of digital assets. It’s an all-in-one NFT solution, providing an intuitive interface for users to explore, buy, sell, and create NFTs with ease.
Can you introduce AtomicHub and your vision to our users?
Sure! AtomicHub is the leading NFT marketplace on the WAX and EOS blockchains, with over 2.5 million connected wallets and 240,000 monthly active users. Brands on our marketplace include Funko, Ultraman, DC Comics and many, many more!
Our long-term vision is to become the #1 marketplace for Web3 games and entertainment. WAX in particular has a dedicated community of game developers, building everything from text-based adventure games to full Unreal Engine 5 FPS titles - and we’re always looking at other chains where we see the same passion and talent.
As passionate gamers at heart, we’re building the marketplace experience that we’d want to use - simple, fast and easy to use - but also with a vast array of tools to help onboard new users, give creators the ability to showcase their creativity, and allow hardcore users to spread their wings too.
Your support of the WAX and EOS blockchains is quite unique! Why did you choose these blockchains?
Our founders, Jona Wilmsmann and Fabian Emilius, were there from Day 1 of WAX - a carbon-neutral EOS fork - back in 2017. WAX aimed to cater to two core markets: Item Trading and Gaming. As lifelong gamers and big CS:GO item traders, Jona and Fabian kept a close eye on the chain and its developments.
Originally, they had planned to create their own blockchain game on WAX, but needed a marketplace to facilitate the trading of the assets. In 2020, they created AtomicAssets - now the most widely used asset standard on WAX, with over 350 million NFTs to date - and then AtomicHub, WAX’s now flagship marketplace. As more artists, developers and brands came to WAX, the marketplace became the focus, and the game took a back seat.
As WAX is an EOS fork, compatibility is relatively straightforward, and so with EOS projects such as Upland and Womplay starting to take off, they expanded AtomicHub to EOS in late 2020.
Are there any plans to integrate other blockchain networks in the future?
Right now, we’re working on our ImmutableX integration, which is slated to arrive later this year.
Immutable has a fascinating roster of top-quality blockchain-powered games from some of the biggest names in the games industry - and with our goal to become the #1 marketplace for Web3 games and entertainment, it was a no brainer to expand to our first Ethereum-based blockchain.
Beyond that, we’ll keep our eyes peeled. Wherever great games are, you’ll be sure to see us in the conversation!
Can you explain the process of creating and trading an NFT on AtomicHub?
Creating an NFT on AtomicHub couldn’t be easier; it takes less than a few minutes, and is a fraction of the cost compared to other networks - we’re talking less than a cent, rather than the hundreds of dollars you’ll find elsewhere.
Within the NFT Creator section of our website, you’ll create a collection - think of it like your brand; it’s the name that all of your NFTs will be created under. From there, you can create a template (identical NFTs, think 100 of one game item) or a schema (NFTs with similar data, think 5 different game items). After that, upload your images, names, descriptions - with options for mutable data, unlockable content and more - and mint your NFTs. It’s as simple as that!
WAX uses a resource-based system for the minting of each NFT, with each costing less than a cent to create. Trading via our marketplace is simple too, with various options to purchase NFTs from other users directly - using WAX or credit/debit card - plus the ability to place a Trade Offer or Buy Offer for the NFTs you want, all with very low fees. Brilliant for games and artists alike!
Are there any upcoming features or improvements that users can look forward to on the AtomicHub platform?
We’ve recently launched the AtomicHub Launchpad, the premier NFT drop experience on WAX, EOS, and coming soon, IMX. Our Launchpad features drops from the hottest games and biggest brands - if you want to be at the heart of the action, our Launchpad is the place to be!
New to NFTs? Not a problem; our Launchpad features a variety of payment options - native tokens (WAX, EOS or IMX), credit/debit cards, and popular cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH and USDT. Signing-up to AtomicHub couldn’t be easier; you can create an account and purchase your first NFT in less than 60 seconds!
We also strive to give our users as much information as possible so they can make informed decisions about the NFTs they purchase. Our new Badges make it easier than ever to find key information about a collection - even if you’re seeing them for the first time - helping collectors expand their horizons, and helping creators find new audiences.
What role do you see NFTs playing in the broader digital economy in the coming years?
NFTs have a lot of potential, and we’re already seeing them breach into the mass market with Reddit, Starbucks, Ticketmaster and others. NFTs, and blockchain technology more generally, need to offer a substantial enhancement to our current experiences of the web for them to see widespread adoption. That can take limitless forms, from a free NFT add-on for concert tickets, digital equivalents of physical items, or game items you can freely trade.
There’s been a lot of discussion around regulations for NFTs, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology across the UK, US and EU recently. Personally, I believe this will substantially enhance the industry environment. Not only will more of the general public feel more safe in exploring these new technologies, but companies, brands, game development studios and more will feel stronger about exploring their options too.
For NFTs to play a major role in the digital economy of the future, we need the talent, brands and regulatory environment to make it happen. We’re on the brink of the promised land for all three.
Which industries do you think NFTs will influence the most in the upcoming years?
I believe the impact of NFTs will stretch far and wide, but in terms of influence, NFTs and blockchain technology will fundamentally change the games industry.
NFTs in games serve three important functions;
- They offer a route to legitimize Real-Money Trading (RMT), eliminating black markets
- They give players the ability to own their in-game items as they would real-world items
- They provide developers with a user-kind, but still profitable, way to interact with their audience
For sure, the “tokenization of everything” is a real concern, and there’s certainly games out there that have integrated NFTs in ways that do not benefit the player, but personally, I believe that astute developers - with a real knack for enhancing the player experience - will be able to integrate NFTs into their games in a way that doesn’t just benefit the developers, but crucially, offers tangible benefits to the players.
Do I believe blockchain-powered games will overtake traditional games anytime soon? No, but I do believe they’ll kick-start interesting discussions about the nature of microtransactions, digital liberty, and virtual ownership that will shape the wider gaming industry for years to come.
What’s the most interesting use case of NFTs you’ve seen so far?
Away from games, Redeemable NFTs (otherwise known as phygitals, vIRLs etc.) have seen a lot of traction over the past few years, as they bring something totally new to the experience of real-world collectibles.
This interplay between digital and physical typically sees NFT packs purchased and unpacked, revealing NFT cards in a range of rarities - akin to a real-world card pack. The rarest of these NFT cards can be exchanged for real-world items, such as collectible figurines, vinyls, statuettes and more.
We’ve seen Redeemable NFTs for Funko, BABYMETAL, and most recently Ultraman - who dropped via our Launchpad - traded on the AtomicHub marketplace, and they’ve proven hugely popular, both with NFT natives and traditional fans of those brands.
Quick shoutout to Jake Hatwell, who’s progress with dynamic NFTs on the WAX blockchain both in gaming and collectibles has been outstanding to witness over the past two years.
What challenges do you believe the NFT industry still needs to overcome to achieve mainstream adoption?
Onboarding is, has, and likely always will be a huge topic when it comes to adoption. Even today, onboarding is a crucial subject in Web2 - how do you take someone who isn’t computer literate and get them to the point where they’re able to make tasks in their day-to-day lives easier, more simple and with greater convenience through using the internet?
Good onboarding has to be familiar, straightforward and easy to understand. We cannot, and should not, expect the average user to learn and understand seed phrases, the differences between proof-of-work and proof-of-stake, or what a Nakamoto coefficient is. They want to see clear benefits, with no complexity.
Simple plug-and-play solutions are vital for the future of NFTs. With AtomicHub, we’re giving new users an experience as similar to Web2 ecommerce as possible - and through our Launchpad, drops can be purchased with credit/debit card, eliminating the need to understand or obtain cryptocurrency to purchase NFTs. The easier it is to get involved, the more likely your average Jill or Joe will get on board.
What would you recommend to new creators and developers coming to the NFT market?
You have to offer something unique. Gone are the days where art will sell on its own merit, or where a fancy whitepaper will make your crypto balance go to the moon.
Whether you’re an artist, a game developer, a large brand or anything in between, at the end of the day, people buy from people. Not just across Web3 but in today’s world in general, we don’t just want great products, we want to support great people.
What’s your story? Why are you making what you’re making? Why do you believe NFTs are the right medium for you? Your background, your story, your ethos - that’s what makes you stand out. If you have a clear message, vision and reason for being in this space, you’ll find an audience.
On a practical level, the blockchain you choose is crucial. Do your research; every network has its strengths and weaknesses - some are perfect for artists, others for games. Some are beginner-friendly, others are for crypto-natives. Some have fantastic communities - such as WAX - others are more niche. Explore, make connections, and ask questions. The good thing about NFT folk is we’re always here to help!